The ZZ Plant (Zanzibar Gem)
The Zz plant is the easiest plant to care for. It can be neglected for months without much water or light and continue to grow! The Zamioculcas Zamiifolia plant is frequently mistaken as a fake plant due to their leaf's waxy, shiny coating. This is because they do not require much attention and always look so healthy! The Zz plant truly does make the perfect first plant.
Step 1: Pick the right planter pot
Pick a planter that has a hole at the bottom so excess water can drain out. If you have picked a decorative planter that does not have a hole at the bottom you will absolutely need to build a drainage path. Even if your planter pot does have a hole at the bottom, building a drainage path is a good idea because it prevents loose soil from escaping out the bottom of your planter when moving it around.
To build a drainage path, place small to medium size rocks or gravel 1 to 2 inches from the bottom of the planter pot. A drainage path is to prevent any potential root rot. If water is unable to escape from your planter, or dry out. Your Zz plant's roots and bulbs may sit in this water which may cause root rot. Root rot is when your plant's bulb or roots begin to rot due to too much water. If your plant begins to experience root rot, it can kill off the rest of your Zz plant.
Step 2: Buy the right soil mix
You will need to mix together equal parts of top soil, peat moss (sphagnum is preferable), organic compost and sterilized loam. Loam is a soil which combines clay, silt, and sand. If you cannot find these supplies, 1/4 peat moss and 1/3 top soil will be sufficient. The soil mix is important for good water and nutrient retention, as well as drainage properties.
Step 3: Fill planter pot and loosen your plant's roots
Begin filling your planter with soil mix. Fill your planter pot with soil 1/2 of the way. You will add soil mix on top of your drainage path. Use your hands to pull the soil up around the edges of your planter pot, this will create space for your Zz plant's bulbs and roots.
Step 4: Plant your Zz plant
Remove your plant from it's nursery planter with scissors or by gently wiggling it out. You can do this over your new planter pot so any excess soil falls into the planter to reduce any mess. Once you have removed your Zz plant from the nursery planter, you can begin loosening the soil from your Zz plant's roots and bulbs. You can do this over your planter pot or a garbage can. It is important to loosen the soil in between the roots of your Zz plant so it divides any roots, bulbs and stems from rhizomes that are not connected. This will allow you take each stem unit of your Zz plant and design the arrangement you like best.
Take one unit at a time of your Zz plant and place it in your planter pot. Place the bulb and roots gently in, ensuring they have enough space and a minimum of 2 to 3 inches of soil below them. Once you have your Zz plant unit in place, with one hand holding your stem unit, use the other to add soil around the edge of that planter side and begin covering the bulb and roots. Ensure you are potting your Zz plant unit at least 2 inches from the planter's edge and 4 inch depth from the bottom of the planter. Add all Zz plant units in, covering the Zz plant's bulbs and roots completely.
Step 5: Firmly pack soil, add support stake, and water
Firmly pack the soil around each stem, using your fingers to press down in between. Add more soil as you lightly pack around the edges of your planter and in between the stems of your Zz plant. Once your Zz plant is secured in place, if one of your stems is large and weighted, add a secure stake such as a pencil, paint brush, or wooden stool, attaching the stem to it. This will secure the larger Zz plant stem and guide it's growth. Once you are satisfied with your Zz planting, water your Zz plant to settle the soil.
- Pot (2-inches wider and 4-inches deeper)
- Gravel or mini rocks
- Peat moss
- Organic Compost
- Sterilized Loam
Pet Friendly | No
The Zz plant is an ideal choice since it requires such little care and is nearly impossible to kill. All parts of this plant, however, are toxic to dogs, cats, and children. Be sure to keep out of reach and wash hands after handling.
Plant Food | Water and Fertilizer
Your Zz plant does not need much water. Less is more. Only water the plant when it's soil is starting to appear desert dry. The Zz plant's rhizomes will rot if over watered.
Placement | Temperature, Sunlight and Space
The Zz plant can endure both direct light and indirect, low light. It will be fine if it is placed either directly by the window or across the room in a location where it only gets occasional indirect light. If your Zz plant begins turning yellow, your plant will need to be moved away from the direct light, as it is likely too hot and bright.
Propagation | Reproduction and Growth
If you have properly cared for your Zz plant, it will grow quite quickly. When the Zz plant reproduces, it sprouts a stem with cocooned leaves. New buds will grow in a wand-like shape upward, opening up into a beautiful new stem of blossomed leaves. When you Zz plant outgrows the pot, you will need to replant it. Repot your Zz plant when it has less than an inch to half an inch width to the edge of your planter pot. You can also repot your Zz plant in the same pot to re-stabilize growth and structure.